Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 10:17:08
1) Lil Wayne Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)
2) Micheal Franti & Spearhead All Rebel Rockers (Anti)
3) Murs Murs for President (Warner)
4) People Under The Stairs Fun DMC (Gold Dust Media)
5) Jean Grae & 9th Wonder Jeanius (Blacksmith)
Joe the Plumber vs. Joe the Butcher? All this recent talk of Joe the Plumber, including on David Letterman's great John "I screwed up" McCain interview last night, which was far more direct and revealing than the debate the previous night, got me thinking of another Joe-- late 80's/early 90's Philly hip-hop producer/remixer Joe "the Butcher" Nicolo. Joe produced such politically charged records as The Goats' "Typical American"/"Burn The Flag" record and the 1991 single/album track "Read My Lips" under the pseudonym A Thousand Points of Light, which heavily sampled and mocked then-president George H. Bush.
Joe the Butcher also produced and released the all original breaks album Butcher Beats And Breaks in 1988 on Atlantic Records (dig for it in the Amoeba crates where it shows up from time to time). Philly born producer/record executive Joe the Butcher became staff producer at Columbia Records in the 80's, doing work with the likes of the Rolling Stones and Billy Joel. But he made his real mark in hip-hop when he created the Columbia distributed Ruffhouse imprint, whose impressive roster included Cypress Hill, The Fugees, Kriss Kross, and the aforementioned (and totally slept on) hometown crew The Goats.
Released over four months ago, Lil Wayne's most recent album, Tha Carter III on Cash Money Records, is still selling really well at the Berkeley Amoeba Music. This week it is the top selling hip-hop release. Another hip-hop album that's been out for a minute, Jean Grae & 9th Wonder's Jeanius on Blacksmith, which was released back in early July, is also in the new top five hip-hop album sellers at the Telegraph Avenue Amoeba store this week. All others on the new hip-hop albums chart are titles released just over the last few weeks, including People Under The Stairs (PUTS), Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Murs.
Below are new videos from the Bay Area's Michael Franti & Spearhead and LA's PUTS. Both were shot overseas: Spearhead's "Hey World" in Jamaica where the new album, All Rebel Rockers on Anti, was recorded; and PUTS in Australia, where the always busy touring act shot the video for "The Wiz" (as in Wizard of Oz - get it?) off their amazing new album Fun DMC. Don't forget that PUTS' Thes One and Double K, who threw down at Amoeba Berkeley two weeks ago, will be performing another Amoeba free in-store when PUTS play Hollywood Amoeba next Thursday, October 23rd at 7PM.
Other new hip-hop albums that I think are well worth checking out include Jake One presents White Van Music and DJ K.O. presents The Show, both of which are laced up by producers with a ton of great guest emcees.
MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD: "HEY WORLD"
As reported by Associated Press and other outlets over the past week, a judge in Illinois with a history of unusual sentences ordered a hip-hop fan who had violated noise levels to endure 20-hours of compositions by Beethoven. Originally the fine for Andrew Vactor, who was busted blasting his favorite hip-hop music too loud in his car, was $150, but then the Champaign County municipal court judge Susan Fornof-Lippencott offered to cut his fine to $35 if he agreed -- as an option -- to listen to the classical music artist for twenty hours. Vactor at first agreed but, after 15 minutes of Beethoven, said he would rather pay the full fine since he didn't have the time to waste. This is not the first time that an older judge has assumed that classical or non current music is automatically something that will punish a young offender. Personally I could think of more painful things to listen to, like a lot of contemporary commercial radio.
"I'm not a player. I just crush a lot." The influence of these lyrics from the late great rapper Big Punisher (aka Big Pun: 1971 -2000) off his 1998 hit "I'm Not A Player" continually pop up in rap songs, most recently with UK duo dan le sac Vs. Scroobius Pip on their new album Angles, which includes the line "I'm not an alcoholic. I just drink a lot." The lyric's influence can also be seen on Queens NY emcee Homeboy Sandman's debut album from earlier this year which features the line "I'm not a dentist. I just floss a lot."
Note that the "crush a lot" lyric was the clean radio version. The album original (pre-censored) lyrics in the song by Big Pun, which samples The O'Jays "Darlin' Darlin' Baby," went as such: "You're my darlin' darlin' love / I'm not a player, I just fuck a lot."
PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS: "THE WIZ"
And in Irish hip-hop news, my man Tall Paul Lowe, who previously reported from the Emerald Isle on Public Enemy's Dublin concert a few months back, reports that, "The hip-hop concert scene has been picking up here in Dublin, Ireland again. Immortal Technique just played and Art Raid in aid of Konk also happened recently. Irish hip-hop duo Messiah J & The Expert celebrated their new album Go (which comes out tomorrow, Oct 18th) with a release party at Andrews Lane Theatre last night (Oct 16). Next weekend over here is the DEAF (Digital Electronics Arts Festival) with such artists as Laurent Gardiner, Steinski, Poets of Rhythm, and Daedalus all scheduled. The latter plays play Andrews Lane Theatre on the 24th, the same night that DJ Sandrinho from Rio de Janeiro plays in South William, and M83 play Vicar Street -- all in Dublin. The DEAF closing party will be a performance by Model 500 (Juan Atkins and Mike Banks live).
As reported here a couple of weeks ago, long fallen from grace rapper MC Hammer was scheduled to perform at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco. This he did as part of day one of the big, free, musically diverse event during the kid's program where his short set of about five songs included such Hammer hits as "2 Legit to Quit" and "The Addams Family Theme." The set almost didn't happen because Hammer, separated from his large entourage (yes, he still rolls deep), somehow left the suit he was to perform in in the car that dropped him off at the event which had split to pick up another performer from SFO. "I rushed back just in time to get Hammer his suit," festival driver Tim told me. Finally, check out the funny video of the old In Living Color spoof of MC Hammer below.
IN LIVING COLOR'S MC HAMMER PARODY: "HAMMERTIME"